Experts say that if children can't read by the end of the fifth grade, they lose self-confidence and self-esteem, making them more likely to enter the juvenile justice system.
In November, the Maryland Court of Appeals hosted an oratorical contest for youth in Maryland juvenile detention facilities. This year, the youth gave speeches about “The Equipment I Need to Succeed,” based on the poem, “Equipment,” by Edgar Albert Guest.
Reading about this contest, I became curious about the poem. Here's the text, plus a video recital of it. “Equipment” starts about thirty seconds in:
Edgar A. Guest
Figure it out for yourself, my lad.
You’ve got all that the greatest of men have had,
Two arms, two hands, two legs, two eyes,
And a brain to use if you would be wise.
With this equipment they all began,
So start for the top and say, "I Can."
Look them over, the wise and the great,
They take their food from a common plate,
And similar knives and forks they use,
With similar laces they tie their shoes.
The world consider them brave and smart,
But you’ve got all they had when they made their start.
You can triumph and come to skill,
You can be great if you only will.
You’re well equipped for the fight you choose,
You have arms and legs and a brain to use.
And the man who has risen great deeds to do,
Began his life with no more than you.
You are the handicap you must face,
You are the one who must choose your place,
You must say where you want to go,
How much you will study the truth to know.
God has equipped you for life, but He
Lets you decide what you want to be.
Courage must come from the soul within,
The man must furnish the will to win.
So figure it out for yourself, my lad,
You were born with all the great have had,
With your equipment they all began.
Get hold of yourself, and say: "I Can."
Carol's Corner has the Poetry Friday round-up today.